Hesuipian 2022

For those of you finally seeing the back of the Christmas weight gain, have some sympathy for those of us who live with a foot in both China, and the West, and are now heading again into further festivities. With nearly two weeks of celebration, mainly marked by meals, snacks, and other culinary over indulgences, it’s no surprise that China has collectively decided to escape into cinema for a respite from food and family.

As usual, anticipation has built up over the last few months for the greatest annual celebration in the Chinese calendar, and among the food shopping, clothes buying, and decorating, bookings have been flooding in to cinemas by the millions, reserving seats during what is now the busiest cinema season of the year. Hesuipian, or “films to celebrate the birth of a new year” are now integral part of Spring Festival, but the tradition only really established itself in the late 90s.


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The Shengxiao and Chinese Horology

The Chinese Zodiac, 十二生肖,Shi’Er Shengxiao, has existed ever since the first dynasty of Qin. There are many theories surrounding its origin. Some suggest that it was a way of counting time created by neighbouring tribes of herdsmen who intermingled with the Han Chinese in various ways throughout history; others that the zodiac was based on the twelve animals ridden by Indian gods. Anthropologically speaking, the zodiac seems to combine our primeval worship of totems with early astrological observations. 


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The Hesuipian

As Chinese New Year draws close, it’s worth spotlighting a relatively recent tradition, the ‘Hesuipian’, literally, “film to celebrate the birth of a new year”, the New Year Movie, which has now become a tradition of four decades.


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8 Festive Dishes & 8 Festive Traditions For Spring Festival

If you’re reading this you probably already know about Chinese New Year, so I won’t spoil the festive occasion with too much scholarly detail. 8 is the lucky number in China so here are 8 festive foods and 8 festive traditions for Spring Festival. Since CNY is as big as Christmas and China is vast, every region has its variation of customs. Having a northern mother and southern father, mine will be a mixture of northern and southern broadly speaking, leaning towards southern because that’s where I spent my childhood.


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Chinese Lanterns at Chiswick House

There are many elements of Chinese culture that I would love to share with my readers. Some, I do my best to convey in my writing, but others you really have to see for yourself.

When I saw the poster for the “Magical Lantern Festival”, I was thrilled that these Chinese silk illuminations are coming to the UK. A traditional Chinese craft relatively lesser known in the West, I was happy that my readers may have a chance to experience these themselves, especially in the gorgeous grounds of Chiswick House.


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Chun Yun: the Mass Spring Migration of China

Whilst most of my readers will be struggling to get themselves back into physical and financial shape after Christmas and new year blow outs, China is getting ready to let its belt out, stuff the Hong Bao, and generally indulge in the biggest annual festival.


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Yeh Shen: the World’s First Cinderella

There are some stories which just spring up time and time again, from culture to culture. Certain fears and hopes in the human Psyche that show we’re all basically the same. “Yeh Shen” is one of these, or maybe it’s several, as the Yellow Earth Theatre draws many comparisons in their publicity, and even in the play’s opening scenes, to Cinderella, and proudly announcing that this Chinese fairy tale is the oldest recorded version of the story.


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National Holidays in China

As we are enjoying our first bank holiday weekend of the year in England, eating hot cross buns, and looking forward to a four-day week ahead of us, I have been thinking about national holidays in China. Even If you are based in the West, you may increasingly have to deal with the Chinese calendar, as companies you work with suddenly shut up shop for “Tomb Sweeping” or “Double Nine”.


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